Coronavirus: Boost in testing could take place at universities ahead of Christmas return

Coronavirus: Boost in testing could take place at universities ahead of Christmas return


Coronavirus: Boost in testing could take place at universities ahead of Christmas return

Coronavirus: Boost in testing could take place at universities ahead of Christmas return

The Independent understands the government has contacted universities about enhanced asymptomatic testing that could be in place in the run-up to the winter break.

Guidance for university students wishing to travel home for Christmas will be issued soon to ensure young people do not infect elderly family members, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.

Advice for returning students could be revealed as early as Tuesday, he added. 

Vice-chancellors have received a letter suggesting mass coronavirus testing for students in England could begin at the end of this month to allow them to return home for Christmas, the BBC reported. 

The letter — sent by the universities minister — reportedly proposed a week of mass testing between 30 November and 6 December.

Those who test positive would have to take a second Covid-19 test and self-isolate if found to be infectious, according to the BBC.

Mr Johnson has already suggested mass testing could be rolled out to university students to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking about reported plans in the run-up to Christmas, the University and College Union (UCU) general secretary Jo Grady said: “We hope the government is able to properly oversee mass testing of students at the end of term, but there are huge hurdles to overcome to manage this process.

“Some of our concerns include whether all universities will be able to take part, how the tests will be administered, who will cover the costs, what the plan is for students who commute to campus daily from their family home, and how students who aren’t able to be tested will travel home safely.”

The Department for Education (DfE) has been approached for comment by The Independent

Additional reporting by PA


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